I was standing on the riverwalk early one morning, already hot and sweaty from a long walk, looking out across the water and listening to the waves lap gently against the wall. The morning sun just above filtered through the clouds, spreading a path of light across still-dark waters--a path toward me, it seemed.
It was just a moment, but it's one of my favorite moments of beauty in 2017. I spent some quiet time with God soaking in the beauty of creation, thanking Him for it and for the opportunity to enjoy it.
But I would have missed it if I hadn't planned for it.
Like most people, I've been spending some time these past few weeks setting goals. I’ve got a very small handful of goals for each of the five most important priorities/categories in my life, including Glimsen. I’m excited about sharing more glimpses of beauty with you and with more people this year.
As you think through your own priorities and make your plans for this year, don’t forget about beauty. I encourage you to save room for beauty in your life and make time for it on your calendar.
Why? Because in this or any age, beauty inspires, encourages, wakes us up, lifts us out of the mundane and our current circumstances. It reminds us that there’s more to this life than daily duty. It counteracts the ugliness we see and hear in the media. It reminds us that there's something bigger and more lasting than ourselves. It points to hope, and hope is something we all need.
I often write about unexpected beauty—beauty we come across in our everyday lives that surprises us. I love those moments. But beauty can be planned, too. And should be.
You probably already do that to some extent when you plan your vacation. Most people choose to go to beautiful places on vacation, but why limit yourself to just one or two weeks a year?
Maybe planning something like beauty sounds too contrived to you, too intentional, with no room for spontaneity. But I’ve found that the things I want to do don’t get done if I don’t put them on my calendar. The weeks and months fly by until I think, why haven’t I done that yet?
So I encourage you, as you work on your goals for 2018, to make a plan for beauty. Here's how:
1. Ask yourself these questions:
What type of beauty do I respond to? Nature, the arts, or something else?
Where can I find it? The beach, mountains, gardens? Museum, theater, symphony? Right around the corner? There are likely lots of options in your area, many of them free or affordable.
When will I go? Choose a Saturday morning, Sunday afternoon, or even a weeknight within the next month and block it out on the calendar.
Who can I invite? Is there someone you know who would also enjoy it? Maybe your spouse or a friend. If not, don’t let that stop you. Being alone may help you focus even more on your experience.
2. Now, go do it. It sounds silly to make a point of saying this, but it’s so easy to let other things crowd out something we want and have planned to do. Put it down in ink (in your mind if not in actuality), and do it.
3. Enjoy it. Be present in the moment. Focus on the experience. Pause and reflect. Ask yourself questions like why you’re drawn to this type of beauty and why it’s meaningful to you. Or, if you prefer, just simply soak it in.
4. Record your experience to help you remember it. Take photos; talk about it with the person you’re with or someone else later; write it down in your journal or on your calendar or planner; keep a souvenir, and put it where you will see it and be inspired to make beauty a regular part of your life.
5. Tell me. I would love to hear about it. Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Now I hope that 2018 is filled with beauty for you. The best way to ensure that happens is to plan for it. Start now.
I'm honored that you've taken time out of your day to stop by my blog, Glimsen. If you like what you see, sign up to receive my blog posts and updates by email, and you'll receive a free gift of beauty in your inbox. You can also find me on Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest. I look forward to connecting with you!